The Russian military is using the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone to deploy their weapons so that Ukraine could not strike back. It is likely that such a scenario will be repeated at the Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant, said Yaroslav Demchenkov, Ukraine Deputy Minister for Energy.
“We are very worried about active hostilities in Voznesensk, near the Yuzhnoukrainsk nuclear power plant,” he said in an article in Ukrayinska Pravda.
He said for the first time in world history, a large-scale war is being waged in a country with more than a dozen nuclear reactors and thousands of tons of highly radioactive spent nuclear fuel.
Ukraine has 15 nuclear power units, including six at Europe’s largest nuclear power plant, Zaporizhzhya (6,000 MW), which also has a spent nuclear fuel storage facility.
On March 4, the Russian army captured the territory of the Zaporozhye nuclear power plant. The occupiers control the administrative buildings and the passage to the station, he said.
“It is known that the occupying forces captured the Chernobyl and Zaporozhye nuclear power plants. These are acts of nuclear terrorism,” Demchenkov said.
The Ukraine Minister said it is clear that the enemy wants to capture all major energy facilities. And to unbalance the energy system, which now, despite active hostilities and significant damage, operates and provides Ukrainians with electricity.
None of Ukraine’s nuclear power plants (like any other nuclear power plant in the world) is designed to be at the epicenter of hostilities, and radioactive releases from missiles into existing nuclear power plants may exceed emissions from Chernobyl and Fukushima.
In the worst case, the reactor and cooling system may be destroyed. Under such a scenario, radioactive releases could render much of the European continent uninhabitable for at least many decades and hundreds and hundreds of kilometers away, Demchenkov said.
The accident at the Zaporizhzhya NPP will be 6-10 times stronger in consequences than the Chernobyl NPP. This is a threat not only to Ukraine, Russia and Belarus, but also to European countries, he said.
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